CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Lowcountry hospitals are caring for a record number of COVID-19 patients across the state and many of them are children.

Doctors at Roper St. Francis say South Carolina has currently ranked the worst state for the rise in COVID-19 case numbers.

“We have more COVID-19 patients in our hospital than we’ve ever had since the start of the pandemic,” said Dr. Robert Oliverio, Vice president & chief medical at Roper.

In the last 24 hours, more than three thousand confirmed COVID-19 cases and 86 deaths across South Carolina. Doctors say the hospitals are getting overrun.

“Our emergency rooms have had the highest number of people coming through them as long as we have been reporting this,” said Dr. Oliverio, Vice president & chief medical at Roper.

Many of the new cases are children who are too young to get the vaccine.

“You can see here as of yesterday 26 kids were hospitalized with COVID-19, 25 of those kids were unvaccinated and half of those kids were eligible for vaccines but were not vaccinated ad you can see 8 kids in critical care beds and 4 of those are on ventilators across the state,” said Dr. Annie Andrews with MUSC.

Also filling up the hospital beds are elderly people.

“It doesn’t happen to you but I can tell you we got people under 20 in the hospital right now we have people under 20 ventilators right now so it does happen to you,” Dr. Oliverio, Vice president & chief medical at Roper.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “children represent about 15 percent of all cases across the nation”.